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Wednesday, 15 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Aug 07, 05:50 PM

From tonight's presenter Kirsty Wark:

Iraq devastation
We begin tonight with what seems to be the worst attack in Iraq since the invasion.

As I write the number of dead in the suicide bombings yesterday in Northern Iraq is reported to have risen to over 250, and there are hundreds of wounded - many with horrific injuries.

The bombers, using fuel tankers and three cars, attacked members of the Yazidi religious sect, a small group of predominantly ethnic Kurds who live in isolated communities and whose religion blends Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The US military said it was too early to say who was responsible for the attack but the scale and apparently coordinated nature of the bombings were hallmarks of Sunni Islamist al Qaeda. The US military commander General David Petraeus is to deliver a progress report on the US "surge" next month and tonight we'll be asking whether the surge itself could have contributed to the violence in a hitherto "quieter" area, and why the Yazidi people may have been attacked now.
Frantic hunt in Iraq bomb rubble

The legacy of partition
Sixty years ago today post colonial India was born, partitioned by the departing British Raj, and amidst today's celebrations are painful memories of the rioting and mass migration that followed. Throughout the tumultuous years that have followed, India has been a democratic secular state and has transformed from a country of extensive poverty to an economic powerhouse. But religious and cultural tensions remain, and not only for Indians in India, but also for Indians, Pakistanis, and Sikhs in the UK. We'll be debating the legacy of partition for second generation British Asians.
India marks independence day

South Africa’s legal storm
The Truth and Reconciliation commission in South Africa left unfinished business, and the country is divided over a groundbreaking legal case. A former minister in South Africa's apartheid regime is to stand trial for the attempted murder 18 years ago of a prominent anti-apartheid clergyman. We'll be reporting from South Africa on the case, which is causing a storm 13 years after the end of white minority rule.

The Political Brain
The book that many politicians will be secreting in their beach bags this summer is a fascinating new exploration of why people vote the way they do by the American professor of psychology and psychiatry, Drew Westen.

His theory - borne out by research into American elections - is that emotion is more important that reason for the voters - and that the politician who can "connect" on an emotional level is more likely to win than the politician who can reel off statistics, policies and promises.

So how does he rate Gordon Brown and David Cameron? I'll be asking both Drew Westen and Rick Nye, the director of the political analysts, Populus. The book is a great read!
The Political Brain - read an excerpt

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